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Justifications of Punishment
- Utilitarianism--forward looking
- Retributivism--backward looking
A person may not be punished unless her conduct was defined as criminal before the commission of the offense
If there are two ways to interpret a statute and one favors the State and the other favors the D, the court must side with the accused.
MPC does not recognize lenity principle.
1) a voluntary act 2) that causes 3) social harm (result crime, conduct crime, attendant circumstances)
Voluntary act or omission+duty
- Act: Bodily movement
- Voluntary: Not a reflex; act during sleep or unconsciousness; act under hypnosis or hypnotic suggestion; act that is not a product of the effort of the actor.
5 Legal Duties (+omission=act)
- Statutory duty
- status relationships
- contractual duty
- creation of risk
- voluntary assistance
Common Law Mens Rea Old/Broad
Culpability--actor realized she was doing something wrong
Common Law Mens Rea Modern/Narrow
Elemental--the mental state an actor must have as described by the statute
Attaches to objective elements (result and attendant circumstances)
Common Law Specific and General Intent
- Specific intent--requires proof of intent to commit some future act; or special motive or purpose; or awareness of an attendant circumstance.
- General Intent--any mental state in the definition of the offense that relates solely to the acts that constitute the social harm of the criminal offense
Transfer of the actor's state of mind when actor intends to cause harm to one person but accidentally causes harm to another
Common Law Knowingly
Actor is aware of the fact or correctly believes that the fact exists
Willful blindness/ deliberate ignorance Doctrine
Actor is aware of a high probability of the existence of the fact in question and deliberately fails to investigate to avoid confirmation of the fact.
Common Law recklessly
the actor disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk of which he was aware.
Objective standard--D was in fact aware
Common law negligence
conduct that is a gross deviation from the standard of reasonable care
subjective standard--D should have been aware
Mistake of Fact
Failure of proof--look at whether a mistake negated the state of mind.
Common law rules: an honest mistake is a "defense" to specific intent; an honest and reasonable mistake is a "defense" to general intent.
Strict Liability Offenses
Offenses that could gravely affect the health or safety of the public; strict liability requires no mens rea.
Moral/Legal Wrong Doctrine
One can make a reasonable mistake regarding an attendant circumstance and still have the culpability worthy of punishment based on her intentional commission of the act.
Mistake of Law
- Ignorance is no defense!
- 1) When mistake/ignorance of law negates the required state of mind
- 2)accused reasonably relies on an official statement of the law that turns out to be wrong
- 3) Rare violation of due process notice
Mistake of law is a defense when the statute itself requires that you know about the statute
MPC Culpable States of Mind
- Purposely (C/L intent)
- Knowingly (C/L intent)
- Result/Conduct: conscious object to engage in conduct or cause result
- Attendant Circumstances: aware of the existence of such circumstances, or belief/hope they exist
- Result/Conduct: actor is aware that it is practically certain that is conduct will cause such a result
- Attendant circumstances: actor is aware that such attendant circumstances exist
conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk (gross deviation from the standard of conduct expected from a law abiding citizen in the actor's shoes)
Actor should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that an element exists or will result from his conduct.
Where a statute is silent regarding culpability of a material element...
...mens rea is established if the actor acts purposely, knowingly, or recklessly
Causation Two Step
- Cause in fact; But-for test
- Proximate cause; foreseeability
Both are needed, neither alone is sufficient
- Result would not have occurred but for the actor's conduct.
- If result occurred from multiple actors' conduct, any of which could have brought about the result, all caused the result.
- Substantial factor--where there are concurrent causes, D's conduct was a substantial factor in bringing about the result.
Actus Reus, mens rea, and causation all have to happen at the same time.
The killing of a human being with malice.
Common Law Malice
- Intent (purpose or knowledge) to kill--express
- Intent (purpose or knowledge) to kill--implied
- Depraved heart (MPC gross negligence)--implied
- Felony Murder--implied
- The killing of a human being without malice
- Two kinds:
- Voluntary (heat of passion)
- Involuntary (negligence)
OK 1st Degree Murder
- Unlawfully and with malice aforethought causing the death of another human being; malice is deliberate intention; deliberate implies premeditation
- Regardless of malice:
- death of a child plus willful harm
- Solicitation plus drug distribution
- Law enforcement officer
- Felony murder with enumerated felony
OK 2d Degree Murder
- Depraved mind without premeditated design
- Felony murder (those not listed in 1st degree)
OK 1st Degree manslaughter
- Unintentional killing in the commission of a misdemeanor
- Unintentional killing in the heat of passion, with cruel and unusual manner with a dangerous weapon
OK 2d Degree Manslaughter
Criminal homicide is committed purposely or knowingly or is committed recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life
Criminal homicide is committed recklessly or a homicide which would otherwise be murder is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse
Common Law Provocation for Manslaughter
- There must have been adequate (reasonable) provocation
- The killing must have been while in the heat of passion
- It must have been a sudden heat of passion with no reasonable opportunity to cool off
- There must have been a causal connection between the provocation, the passion, and the fatal act
Provocation is a partial defense
Common Law Doctrine for Manslaughter
Reasonable provocation>Anger (heat of passion)>Reasonable loss of self-control>Death
Common Law Provocation is reasonable if it is...
- Extreme assault or battery
- mutual combat
- illegal arrest
- serious injury of a close relative
- sudden discovery of a spouse's adultery
Modern variation--Jury decides if provocation was reasonable, provided the judge does not declare it unreasonable as a matter of law
If the provocation is reasonable, then the loss of self control is reasonable, unless D had a reasonable opportunity to cool down
MPC Extreme Emotional Disturbance (Manslaughter)
Reasonable provocation>Extreme emotional disturbance>reasonable loss of self-control>death
What makes MPC recklessness extreme for murder purposes?
- The magnitude (probability and severity) of the substantial risk
- Frivolous reasons for unjustifiable risk
- Awareness of illegal conduct/risk to life
- Extreme indifference
Common Law Felony Murder
Guilty of murder if a death results from conduct during the commission or attempted commission of any felony
Triggering Condition for Self Defense
- Use or threatened use of "unlawful force"
- Unlawful force is unjustified force
Necessity (imminence) for self defense
- Force may be used when necessary to avoid being the victim of deadly force (when the other actor's use of deadly force is imminent)
- An actor may only use as much force as is necessary to avoid being the victim of deadly force
Reasonable Belief for self defense
An actor can successfully claim self defense if he honestly and reasonably believes that the elements of the defense exist, even if his or her belief turns out to have been mistaken
Aggressor Rule (self defense)
- An initial aggressor cannot claim self defense unless he renounces his initial aggression
- An initial aggressor is one whose affirmative unlawful act is reasonably calculated to produce an affray foreboding injurious or fatal consequences
- An initial aggressor renounces his or her initial aggression if he or she communicates to his or her adversary his intent to withdraw and in good faith attempts to do so.
Imperfect self defense
- actor honestly but unreasonably believes the elements of the defense exist
- actor is a non-deadly aggressor and the victim uses deadly force in response to his non-deadly aggression
- actor uses deadly force in response to non-deadly force
Common Law Necessity
- D must reasonably believe the harm avoided is imminent and that no adequate legal alternatives exist.
- Harm caused is less than harm avoided.
- D was not negligent in bringing about the situation requiring a choice of harms.
- Necessity is limited to situations created by natural forces in protecting persons and property (not applicable to murder)
Common Law Duress
- D must reasonably believe the threat is real or genuine, the threatened harm is imminent, the threat is one of death or serious bodily injury to D or a close relation, and he has no reasonable opportunity to escape except through compliance with the demand.
- Limited to threats from another person
- Does not apply to murder
- D must not be negligent in creating the conditions giving rise to duress
- A person is insane if, at the time of her act, she was laboring under such a defect of reason that she
- did not know the nature and quality of the act she was doing
- or if she did know, she did not know what she was doing was wrong
Irresistible impulse test